Pulse-pounding action-packed, “Shadow Walk” is an impressive original graphic novel from the minds of Mark Waid, Max Brooks, and Thomas Tull, that features monster attacks, shootouts, and plenty of kill scenes. By taking a single location, dark imagination has been let loose in this clever sci-fi/horror adventure. With one helluva tough guy leading the brigade, “Shadow Walk” is a fun-filled read that horror fans will love.
WRITTEN BY: Mark Waid, Max Brooks, and Thomas Tull
ART BY: Shane Davis
RELEASE: Nov. 27th, 2013
In the Valley of the Shadow of Death, what was thought to be just a religious metaphor turns out to be in fact very real. Set in modern-day Iraq, the Valley is swarming with an army of demonic creatures that have been let loose from Hell. With a dangerous energy source in sight, the U.S. sends in a Spec-Ops team to investigate the paranormal sightings. But when the team fails, any chance of defeating the growing demon army seems lost. Years later, a new platoon is about to go in and extract the power source. But the only way this new team is going to set foot in the Valley is with the help of John Raines, the only survivor who has gone into and came out of Hell itself.
Writers Mark Waid, Max Brooks, and Thomas Tull have set up a action/horror fest led by a no-nonsense tough guy. John Raines led his Spec-Ops team to the Shadow of Death and watched them all die. What’s interesting about this Rambo-type character is that he is left to rot in a Guantanamo cell after following his orders. Rather than feeling betrayed by his government, Raines has spent time in his cell thinking about revenge. Even though he barely got out of there alive, he wants to return to Hell in order to avenge the deaths of his comrades.
Underneath all the slam-bang shootouts and demon mayhem, the writing focuses on human nature’s internal struggle with spirituality. Even though Raines and his teammates are facing demons from another world, they are still stone-cold skeptics about a higher power. Father Adam Tucker, a man of faith, wants to believe he is being guided to serve a grand purpose. Mid-way through the narrative, Father Tucker gives an interesting discussion about having faith when all hope is lost.
Right off the bat, artist Shane Davis brings in the intensity to his action sequences. In the opening pages, readers see what happened to Raines and his first team through raw video footage. Like in the found footage movies we see, Davis illustrates the motion blurs and abrupt cuts during the gory massacre. Because the panels are told through first-person point-of-view, you see the camera falling sideways. With the benefit of Mark Morales’ inks and Morry Hollowell’s colors, the opening is so wonderfully constructed that readers will be instantly hooked.
To a horror fan’s delight, we just about get a different kind of monster in every page. In one of Davis’ jaw dropping illustrations, Rains and his team encounter a curtain made of human flesh. When the curtain comes alive, the dead bodies fling their arms around, trying to pull in their victim. In Davis’ character designs of the glowing sirens, the seducing vixens have eyes for breasts and bloody teeth in the vagina; I kid you not.
A spectacular mix of action, monsters, and scares, “Shadow Walk” is such an intense and fast read that really sinks its hooks on you. Because John Raines is such an interesting and easy-to-root-for character, I hope Mark Waid, Thomas Tull, and Max Brooks have more adventures in store for him.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis